A German V8 In Bogotá: Prowling City Streets In A Porsche 928 S4
Photography by Alvaro Pinzón
Wherever you are in the world, the 928 asserts itself as a car that warrants attention, and at least a discussion. Porsche purists fall on both sides of the debate; depending on who you ask, it is Porsche’s front-engined ugly duckling, and it is their daring V8 grand tourer. Edgar, the owner of this black S4 example, clearly agrees with the latter.
The story of how he came to own the unique Porsche sports car is a classic inter-family hand-off, though in the opposite direction of the norm; he bought the car off of his son, thinking that if he didn’t want it anymore it should still stay in the family. Why did he feel compelled though? This question is met with a slim smile and the words “This is not your typical Porsche!” As we talk about Edgar’s car, circling it like appreciative vultures for a few minutes before we took it out for a drive, I recalled that Anatole Lapine had previously worked on the Chevrolet Sting Ray’s development before becoming Porsche’s chief designer. Maybe this helps to explain the choice of a V8 mounted up front in the 928.
After admiring the car in stasis, I was yearning for a ride along in the oddball P-car to see what all the talk was about—on both sides of the issue. In Colombia, a 928 is a relatively rare sight like it is in most places, but this example even more so, being a five-speed and in pristine condition. Of course, having 300hp to channel through the rear wheels onto rain-slicked tarmac isn’t an everyday situation either. There really couldn’t be more a better time to prove the innovative Weissach-developed multi-link suspension.
Entering the cockpit surrounds you with a style that’s very futuristic for its era, and also one that’s downright comfortable and functional. It does a fine job combining the aggressively groovy late-70s design with smart packaging, the result being an ergonomic cabin that hasn’t sacrificed any cool. Inside, driving, the sensations that the car gives off are well suited for a GT. The sound of the engine when we climb past 3000rpm isn’t radical, but it’s there, and sonorous in that way that compels you to apply a bit more pressure to the gas pedal. While it obviously felt heavier than the 911 it was at one time meant to replace, the car doesn’t disappoint in how it handles/ This is again thanks to its trick independent design of its rear axle, but the overall feeling of composure under duress is aided by the responsive throttle and the car’s weight distribution makes it very enjoyable to suck around once you’ve escaped the doldrums of traffic. Weaving through Bogotá in the rain, a city that already demands a lot from drivers and cars, was no issue whatsoever.
At the end of the day, I was in love with this car to the point of wanting one for myself (this tends to happen after experiences like this), so while we were drinking a cup of chocolate (while talking about cars, surprisingly) I asked Edgar what it’s like to keep a car like this in Colombia. He replied that while the car is more expensive, it’s really not so difficult or different to maintain than anything else. The key to keeping up with high-performance specialty cars in their old age, as we all know, is to be diligent with the maintenance. As cars like this become older and older though, the key is to also plan ahead, says Edgar. Maybe this means maintaining additional spare parts should they no be longer available, or it could simply mean finding the right people to care for the car; here are not so many workshops that really know these cars well, so having someone who really understands the car is invaluable.
While you could certainly consider the 911 a timeless design at this point, the 928 is something special in its own right, not just because it was slated to usurp the 911’s throne. From my point of view, it is a car that represents a moment of time when people weren’t afraid to experiment on the path to building the ultimate sports cars. I’d like to extend thanks to Edgar for spending time with me, talking about this passion for his 928, and of course for letting me experience it for myself.